Tea Party President Should Keep Personal Opinions To Self

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Editor:

I just read a letter to the editor published in the Friday, July 27 Roundup written by Jim Muhr.

I had a conversation with Mr. Muhr a few days ago. During our conversation he said, “I don’t care if a man is a Republican or a Democrat. I vote for the man, not the party.” He then proceeded to tell me about the letter he had submitted to the Roundup.

In this document he asked questions of Republican sheriff’s candidate Adam Shepherd about his switch from Democrat to Republican registration. If he votes for the man and not the party, why does he care about Adam Shepherd’s political affiliation?

Only one of the candidates for sheriff has never changed his political affiliation. In fact, “Republican” Darrell Stubbs ran against Sheriff Armer as a Democrat in 2008. Before that he was a Republican.

As to Mr. Muhr’s allegation that Adam Shepherd failed to tell Stubbs about his candidacy, I say, first consider the source. He should also find out the date of this alleged encounter. The sheriff’s office has a rule that employees cannot run for political office while they are employed by the SO. Under this rule, Adam Shepherd was forced to retire as Gila County undersheriff (the position he has held for the past seven-and-one-half years) before announcing his candidacy for sheriff. He was officially retired as a Feb. 29, 2012. Prior to March 1, 2012 he could not publicly announce his intentions.

Mr. Muhr’s attacks upon Adam Shepherd for accepting support from high-ranking Democrats in the county are illogical and ridiculous. Apparently Mr. Muhr has never run for political office, at least none as high as sheriff. Political campaigns are very expensive. If someone wants to offer his/her support, you say, “Thank you.”

I did ask Mr. Muhr if he was certain his chosen candidate hadn’t accepted donations from someone registered in an opposing party. He didn’t answer.

I, too, have attended numerous Tea Party and Republican club meetings over the past five months. Leaders of both organizations have stated that they do not endorse a candidate until after the Primary Election (Aug. 28, 2012). Mr. Muhr is president of the Payson Tea Party. I pointed out to him that submitting his letter for publication constitutes an endorsement for Adam Shepherd’s Republican opponent. He said, “No, no. That’s just my personal opinion.” As president of the Payson Tea Party he has a responsibility to keep his personal opinions to himself.

What Mr. Muhr failed to mention is that a number of high-ranking and influential Republicans and Independents also support Adam Shepherd for sheriff. Why? Because these people support the person most qualified to hold the highest office in the county. They’re voting for the man, not the party.

Evelyn Wilkerson

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